LAX97LA114
LAX97LA114

On February 25, 1997, at 1625 hours Pacific standard time, a HOAC Austria DV-20, N194DV, sustained substantial damage during an off-airport forced landing in soft soil near the Franklin Airport, Galt, California. The forced landing was precipitated by a loss of engine power in the traffic pattern. The aircraft was operated by Patterson Aircraft of Sacramento, and rented by the student pilot for the local area solo instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated at the Sacramento Executive Airport on the day of the accident at 1600 and flew to the Franklin Airport for traffic pattern operations.

The airplane is a production aircraft manufactured in Austria with an United States normal airworthiness certificate. It is powered by a Rotax 912 A3 engine.

In his written report, the pilot said the aircraft was in the takeoff initial climb when he smelled the strong odor of fuel, the fuel pressure decreased, and the engine quit. The pilot attempted to land in a field but noticed a large number of cattle in the way and set the aircraft down early in soft soil. The soft nature of the soil collapsed the nose landing gear strut.

A manufacturer's technical representative examined the aircraft with an FAA airworthiness inspector. The examination revealed that a fuel line quick disconnect fitting had come loose in the line between the fuel selector and the fuel pump. The fitting allows access to a fuel filter, which must be inspected during each 100-hour/annual inspection. During the filter inspection process, the fuel line must be disconnected. According to the aircraft maintenance records, the line was last removed and reinstalled on February 21, 1997, about 20 hours prior to the accident. The examining FAA inspector reported that the quick disconnect fitting was safety-wired in accordance with the maintenance instructions. The inspector further stated that even with the safety wire in place "I was able to insert, lock, unlock and remove the coupler from the pump." No fuel stains were noted in the area of the fuel pump.

The FAA inspector reported that later models of the aircraft have AN fittings in place of the quick disconnect fitting.

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